7 June 2012

Namibia: Resettled Farmer Needs More Land

Karasburg — The beneficiary of Farm Harib, Josef Andreas, is thankful for the farm unit he received, but thinks it is too small to make a meaningful income from.

Harib, situated in the Karasburg area, is just 2 632 ha, a small unit compared to the normally sizable farm units in the Karas Region.

Andreas who was allocated the unit in 2000, disputes his border with neigbouring resettlement farm, Bruinheuwels.

"Parts of Bruinheuwels actually belong to Harib, but although we complained nothing was done about it," the farmer said.

Andreas said the area is drought-prone and the unit should have been much bigger so that he could farm with more animals.

"But now I can't keep a lot of animals, because there is simply not enough grazing. I have to let the animals graze next to the main road when grazing becomes too scarce," he said.

When Andreas first came to his unit on Farm Harib, he only had 500 small livestock and at least 25 cattle. However, he now only has 300 small livestock and seven head of cattle left.

The farmer attributes this to the poor and limited grazing conditions and lack of proper water infrastructure. The farmer has to buy feed to supplement the almost non-existent grazing on his unit.

The water infrastructure is dilapidated and the strong winds experienced in the area damage windmills. Andreas struggled for 10 years to fix his water pumps, until the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement eventually paid for a Lister Machine.

"The ministry also told us to get quotations for solar pumps. Maybe the situation will improve now," he was of the opinion.

Like many other southern farmers, Andreas also struggles with predators such as jackals, which he said are a big problem.

In order to supplement his income, Andreas runs a shebeen (tavern) during weekends in Karasburg where he owns a house.

"That shebeen actually sustains the farm, so I have to do that if I want to make a living out of the farm," he said.

He too has received a N$65 000 loan from the Agricultural Bank of Namibia and plans to buy at least 80 more sheep. Andreas will have to start paying back the loan in December 2012.

Now the farmer's only wish is to get a little bit more land, to "make a real farming business".

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